TIGERS LAST TEST FOR LEAGUE CHAMPIONS VALLEY; KPMG PREM A TITLE CHASE COMES DOWN TO THE WIRE

17 Jan 2020

A fitting match-up of last year’s two grand finalists will serve as the send-off to the KPMG Top 4 Premiership league season on Saturday when Societe Generale Valley meet Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers at Happy Valley at 6pm.

With the league title already secured, Valley will be out to complete an undefeated season when they face second-ranked Tigers. Last Saturday’s convincing second half performance in a 28-5 win over Gai Wu has given the team renewed confidence for the tests ahead in the grand championships, said player coach Bella Milo.

“I was pleased with last week’s efforts, we asked for the win and the girls worked hard for the bonus point which gives us breathing room heading into this game knowing we have secured the league.”

For the last two seasons, Valley has missed out on the double with losses in the grand final, last year’s coming at the hands of Tigers, and Milo and her team are intent on not allowing any slip-ups in the business end of the season.

“There was a good buzz at training last night, the players are excited to play Tigers tomorrow at home. To finish a league undefeated is a great accomplishment for any team, so if we do get there then that's a bonus for us.”

After last week’s testing first half, Milo has identified discipline as a key to success this weekend.

“Discipline is key. We gave away too many penalties last week in the first half with two yellow cards. So I'm expecting our players to adjust to the referee and be disciplined with our defensive linespeed to put them under pressure on attack,” Milo added.

With the league title out of reach and two 40-point losses to Valley already this season, coach Fan Shun-kei was less focused about the results on Saturday then on shaping up his charges for another late-season rush in the grand championships.

He can be confident heading into the grand finals with the Valley games the only defeats of the season, against nine wins, including sweeping Gai Wu with a 53-0 win before tighter 17-12 and 17-10 contests.

The stage is set for some last season dramatics across the board in Hong Kong’s women’s rugby with the Premiership A title up for grabs when Kerry Hotels Kowloon face First Pacific SCAA Causeway Bay at King’s Park at 630pm.

Causeway Bay coach Prince Wong looked ahead to Saturday’s match with the peace of mind in knowing that the season’s ultimate objective was met in what was a challenging season for the mid-towners, “We met the target to stay in the Premiership next season, if we win the league or grand championship, that will be a bonus, but for us it gives us another chance to show that we have come together as a team.

“We have to win the game to win the league, so we have to be aggressive. It has been the aim all season to come together and play as a team and play to the structures that we have applied this season. Now we have to take that into the final game,” added an upbeat Wong.

Gai Wu will complete the league season with a match against Natixis HKFC, who will be desperate for a first Premiership win of the season on their last outing at Hong Kong Football Club at 6pm. Transact 24 Tai Po Dragons will meet Bloomberg Hong Kong Scottish in the other Premiership A match this weekend at Shek Kip Mei at 6pm.

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